Bike of the Month

Page updated January 5th 2022

Herewith our first "Bike of the Month"

Section member Stephen West-Oram, has provided us with these wonderful pictures of his rare Royal Ruby and has shared some of its history.

“…….My father and I collected the near-derelict machine from the house of a Mr Pugh, somewhere in South Shropshire, probably on 14th June 1964 (the date is accurate: it was the day before I sat ‘O’-level mathematics and I thought I should have been swotting, rather than meandering down to Shropshire to pick up a dubious motorcycle). 

UP AND RUNNING FOR OULTON PARK

We had to sever one or two young trees protruding through the frame before the RR could be extracted from Mr Pugh’s chicken shed.  We didn’t do much with the bike for a few years but my father got going in about 1975 and after farming out much of the skilled work, the Royal Ruby was up and running in 1981 at a parade at Oulton Park but then lived in my father’s front hall until he died in 1991.  He never rode it, always being busy on his BMW, Alldays Allon or hybrid Triumph racer.

SAT IN A DEALER’S SHOWROOM?

It was first registered in 1922 but the registration number, EU 113 was, according to a letter from The Borough of Brecknock, ‘issued to a motorcycle’ in 1920.  RR went bust in 1922 so I would guess that my machine is from before that date.  Quite why there was a two-year gap between 1920 and 1922 I don’t know.  Maybe the bike sat in a dealership for that period and was united with a previously issued registration at the time of its sale.  I have tax disc showing an expiry date of 30 June 1929 so imagine that that was its last appearance on the road before being confined to storage (perhaps in Mr Pugh’s chicken shed).  Foolishly we didn’t bother to get any history from Dr Pugh at the time of the RR’s acquisition but I recall that he told us he used to ride it round their garden when a child so it is possible that EU 113 was in the Pugh family in about 1950 or so, in South Shropshire.

AN AWARD AT BANBURY

 I had EU 113 running well after only a little recommissioning in 1992 and managed to finish in the Banbury Run that year and the next, winning a first-class award on the second occasion.  I run it every year nowadays but only very locally, on the A417 if things are quiet, just to prove to myself that it is still a going concern.

A JAP ENGINE?

It is a 350cc model, with leaf spring suspension fore and aft, a two-speed gearbox and the usual non-effective brakes. The engine is probably a JAP but with Royal Ruby embossed castings.  A Triumph two-barrel carburettor is not at all original RR spec but it had been sitting on various shelves for about 45 years so I decided that it must earn its keep.  With a bit of help from Robin James Engineering Services and nickel plating by me it worked straight away and I think it improves the performance somewhat (probably as a result of my nickel plating!)”

Steven would love to find out more about this bike. If you can help, please get in touch.